Posts from August 2013

Ecstasy Isn't Cheap, Salt and Pepper Semi-Cured Hamachi Sashimi for Labor Day

After vegetarian-no cooking needed Watermelon Feta recipe  from Salt Block Cooking, 70 Recipes for Grilling, Chilling, Searing, and Serving on Himalayan Salt Blocks (Andrews McMeel, May 2013) by Mark Bitterman, we go sashimi.

Salt and Pepper Semi-Cured Hamachi Sashimi

A cut of fish glistening from the sea asks that we honor it. Simple slices of pristine Hamachi can’t bear the insult of ornamentation, but they are exalted by salt. Resting fresh fish flesh on a chilled block of salt returns it momentarily to its birthplace, impregnating it with salinity, firming its muscularity. You will need very high-quality fish for this dish. If you have access to an Asian market, the fishmonger there can usually get you sushi-grade hamachi. Plan ahead, because it might have to be special-ordered. Yes, I know it is pricey, but ecstasy isn’t cheap.

1 (9-inch) square or round salt block
1 pound sushi-grade yellowtail
flounder (hamachi)
2 Tellicherry peppercorns
4 dried green peppercorns
4 Szechuan peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
2 scallions, roots and dark green ends
trimmed, thinly sliced
4 thin lime slices



Chill the salt block in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Cut the yellowtail into .-inch-thick slices. Place the fish slices on the chilled salt block and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Then flip the pieces of fish so the other side comes in contact with the salt and refrigerate for another 5 minutes.

While the fish is curing, smash the Tellicherry, green, and Szechuan peppercorns with the flat side of a large knife, a meat pounder, or the bottom of a heavy skillet. Mix the peppercorns together with the Aleppo pepper.

To serve, scatter the pepper and scallions over the fish, and serve on the salt block with the lime slices. Squeeze a lime over the dish if desired, or save it for a salty lime dessert.

(*Recipe excerpted from 'Salt Block Cooking' by Mark Bitterman- Andrews McMeel Publishing, May 2013- reproduced with permission)

Parisian Spirit, Vintage Paris, Coffee, Wine and Tea in Hollister, Missouri

While coffee and coffee shop roaming, I discovered a little piece of Paris in Missouri.


In Hollister, Vintage Paris serves coffee, wine, tea and creature conforts.

Prior stop on my coffee excursion was Classic Cafes ('The best of London's Vintage Formica Cafes'). Site is bit of a museum itself as it has not been updated since March 2010.

(* Photo of 'Vintage Paris' from their site)

Silver Bronx equals Gin, Vermouth, Orange Juice and Egg White, From Gatsby Cocktails

After sensual Silver Stocking recipe from Gatsby Cocktails, Classic Cocktails from the Jazz Age (Ryland, Peters & Small) here comes a Bronx specialty harking back to prohibition days.


The Bronx dates back to the days of Prohibition, when gang bosses reigned and booze played an important part in the economy of the underworld. Different areas of New York became known for the
special cocktails they offered, such as this speciality of the Bronx.

50 ml/2 oz. gin
a dash of dry vermouth
a dash of sweet vermouth
50 ml/2 oz. fresh orange juice
1 egg white

Serves 1

Shake all the ingredients vigorously over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

(* Recipe from Gatsby CocktailsClassic Cocktails from the Jazz Age- published by Ryland, Peters & Small, 2012- reproduced with permission)

Poolside Cocktails in Napa, Dive Bar, Yountville, Last Call for Season Tonight, August 29

For safety reasons, I doubt Dive Bar at Bardessono Hotel in Yountville lets you enjoy your cocktail while floating around the pool as poster might suggest.


Tonight (August 29) is last call (for Summer 2013).

Al fresco drinks and nibbles from 6 to 8 PM.

Wine lovers might want to know that Bardessono Hotel is hosting 90th birthday dinner for/with Miljenko “Mike” Grgich at its restaurant Lucy on Sunday, September 15...Price is $150 per person...Menu HERE...

Reservations via Eventbrite until September 12...

(* image via Bardessono Facebook page)

Cool and Crisp, Amabuki Sparkling Junmai Ginjo Sake, Melinda Joe's Thirst Quencher on Hot Tokyo Day

Hot humid days are a common thing during summer months in Tokyo.

Cool and crisp, Amabuki Sparkling Junmai Ginjo Sake is one of the suggested thirst quenchers besides water kindly offered by Tokyo resident Melinda Joe. Besides her site Tokyo through the drinking glass, Melinda Joe contributes to Japan Times and Wall Street Journal.

Her tasting notes on Amabuki Sparkling Junmai Ginjo Sake by Amabuki Shuzo Brewery in Saga Prefecture:

 "Cool and crisp, with a fruity aroma, lactic tang (in a good way), and a dry finish. Light texture and relatively low alcohol at 14%"


To cool off on hot days, Japanese are known to read scary stories (it makes you sweat). As for the streets, people sprinkle pavement with water in a practice known as Uchimizu...

Keeping Cool in Tokyo with a little help from Melinda Joe for Tokyo Thursdays # 266

Previously: Haichu Anyone? Skoshbox Delivers Monthly Fill of Japanese Treats and Candies to your Door

Let's Eat Food on Film, Spinning Plates documentary Showing in Huntington, NY, September 11

3 restaurants, 3 stories, 3 places across the USA, Spinning Plates (2012) documentary film directed by Joseph Levy finally got my attention thanks to Cinema Arts Center in Huntington, New York (Long Island).

They are screening Spinning Plates in collaboration with Slow Food Huntington on September 11, 2013 at 7:30 PM.

Spinning plates
What movie is about:

“Every restaurant exists to entertain people,” says Nick Kokonas, a partner in Chicago’s upscale Alinea. “No one needs to eat out.Why do you go to a restaurant? To be entertained. To enjoy yourself. To celebrate.” Director Joseph Levy explores three restaurants that offer dining experiences that resonate beyond the simple act of being fed.

At Alinea, the experience is an artful performance by chef Grant Achatz and his staff. In Balltown, Iowa, Breitbach’s Country Dining regularly serves more people than live in the town; it’s a community center as well as a tourist destination. In Tucson, Arizona, Francisco Martinez opens La Cocina de Gabby so everyone can enjoy his wife’s cooking “because she cooks like an angel.” These three varied stories illuminate our associations with dining as family gathering, community expression, and performance art, or sometimes all three at once."

You can Purchase Tickets and Check Event Details Online for Cinema Arts Centre screening. 

Price is $10 for members and $15 for General Public

(* Image of 'Spinning Plates' poster from movie's Facebook Page...)

Loaded with Omega 3, Marinated Mackerel with Capers, Croutons and Herbs from Franny's

Second excerpt from Franny's Simple Seasonal Italian (Artisan Books, May 2013) by Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens, and Melissa Clark was Saturday into Sunday Cocktail, Sweet Olive, third and last excerpt of the book is a fish I think more popular in British than American kitchens.

Marinated Mackerel with Capers, Croutons, and Herbs

Serves 4 

You don’t see a lot of mackerel in this country, but it’s beloved in Italy, where it’s known as a member of the pesce azzurro (“blue fish”) family, a group that also includes anchovies and sardines. Americans tend to shy away from mackerel because they think it’s going to taste strong or fishy. But of all the fish in this family, mackerel is the sweetest and mildest. It’s savory, buttery, and rich, and it’s good for you, too, loaded with omega-3s. 


2⁄3 cup coarsely torn (1-inch pieces) country-style bread

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper 

4 skin-on mackerel fillets (about 11⁄4 pounds)

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 1⁄4 cups plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3⁄4 teaspoon red chili flakes

2⁄3 cup white wine vinegar

2⁄3 cup moscato vinegar (see Resources, page 357)

12 large mint sprigs

Zest of 2 lemons, removed in large strips with a vegetable peeler

1⁄2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

8 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal (about 1⁄2 cup)

Juice of 1⁄2 lemon, or more to taste

Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

2 teaspoons brined capers, drained 

158_Marinated Mackerel with Capers, Croutons, and Herbs

To make the croutons: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss the bread pieces with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and toast until a dark caramel color, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool. 

1. Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over high heat, then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and let it get hot but not smoking. Transfer 2 fillets to the pan, skin side down; if the skin begins to shrink instantly, you know the pan is hot enough. Cook the fish, undisturbed, for 11⁄2 minutes, pressing down on the fillets with a spatula to help brown the skin. Flip the fillets and cook for 10 seconds more. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Repeat with 2 more tablespoons olive oil and the remaining fish fillets.

2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and chili flakes to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the vinegars and mint sprigs, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and pour the mixture over the fish. Add 1 cup olive oil and the lemon zest to the baking dish. Let the fish cool to room temperature, then cover tightly and refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours. 

3. Just before serving the fish, in a bowl, toss together the parsley, scallions, and lemon juice. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Taste and add more lemon juice if needed. 

4. To serve, place one mackerel fillet on each plate. Sprinkle with sea salt, and mound the parsley salad on top of the fish. Sprinkle sea salt over each salad. Scatter the croutons and capers over the dish and serve.

* Excerpted from Franny's Simple Seasonal Italian by Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens, and Melissa Clark (Artisan Books). Copyright 2013. Photographs by John von Pamer.)

Hydration with a Conscience, Reuse, Refill Your Own Bottle of Water, BYOB by Rebecca Penmore

Reuse, Refill, Bring Your Own Bottle of Water, BYOB by Rebecca Penmore for 'Do The Green Thing'

No need to be continually buying bottled water and discarding all that plastic.BYOB

My personal favorite: 'The Lone Ranger' used one of these in the vineyards during harvest.

Support the cause, buy the poster...

Hydration with a conscience for Green Day # 256


Foraging Dinner, IncrEdibles at Kew Gardens, Amazing World of Edible Plants, August 29, London

(* Image of BYOB by Rebecca Penmore from Do The Green Thing's Tumblr)

Take 3, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Beautiful South Wine Tasting, London, Sept 11-12

Rather than divide and conquer, Wines of Argentina, Wines of Chile and Wines of South Africa decided to join forces and collaborate for 1 London tasting, The Beautiful South, featuring 300 producers from all 3 countries.

Besides tasting itself, a number of seminars on specific topics are offered.

Among them:

Cool customers: A look at cool areas, in altitude and on coasts presented by Peter McCombie MW on September 11, 2013 from 11:00 to 11:40 AM.

Ageing gracefully: Old vintages and ageing potential presented by Ronan Sayburn MW on September 12, 2013 from 11:00 to 11:40 AM.

Climate Change in Beautiful South: Weather changes due to Global warming in Argentina, Chile and South Africa presented by Fernando Santibanez on September 11 and September 12, 2013 both days from 2:00 to 2:40 PM.

No advance reservations are taken for these seminars so seating will be on a first come, first serve basis.

Beautiful South is reserved to wine professionals (wine trade, restaurants, etc...) and media.

Advance Online Registration is required.

Tasting will be opened from 10 AM to 6 PM on both days.

Is similar event planned for New York?